Featured Photo

TWEE 4571 by Yospyn

A few weeks ago I asked our readers if they could help me name this mysterious new street artist, but in reality I knew the answer all along.  These wheatpastings that went up overnight along 14th street were deliberately placed as part of Jeffry Cudlin’s show at Flashpoint, BY REQUEST.  The idea behind his show was to challenge local artists to create the ideal work of art, at least as determined by some of DC’s most influential art minds.  The catch?  He had to be a part of every piece.  In some cases his involvement was completely obvious, say for example, the 23′ long nude photo of him that you’ll either love or be terrified of.  However to please the tastes of Pink Line Project’s Philippa Hughes, local artist Cory Oberndorfer transformed Cudlin into a fictional street artist from Nova Scotia named TWEE.

I had the honor of accompanying Oberndorfer and TWEE one late night to witness and document the evolution of DC’s newest street artist as he pasted his bittersweet characters along 14th street.  The mission was simple.  Scatter some art that Hughes was sure to love along a street that she travels every day.  It would only be a matter of time before she became curious, and the gamble paid off when she posted a picture on Facebook the very next day asking, “Been seeing these along 14th Street. Who is it?”  ObernTWEEfer had nailed it.

At the show’s opening at Flashpoint, Hughes was completely shocked to learn that the pieces she’d been seeing were made specifically for her, and that the queen of art gossip had just been played.  It was a great social experiment that went off without a hitch thanks to the deviously creative minds of Cory and Cudlin.  BY REQUEST will go down in history books as one of the most outlandish, well-marketed, and beautifully executed shows in DC.  Well done, Mr. Cudlin.  I mean, TWEE.

Hailing from the Mile High City, Max has also lived in Tinsel Town, the Emerald City, as well as the City of Brotherly Love. Now a District resident, he likes to write about cool photos by local photographers, the DC restaurant and bar scene, or anything else that pops into his mind.

22 thoughts on “Featured Photo

  1. Wait, so the profile from Ready Set DC was a total work of fiction/performance art?! That’s a little sleazy/creepy, don’t you think?

  2. There’s always an element of pretentious self-indulgence in performance art. And they don’t care if it turns some people off.

  3. Which is why, Phil, a lot of people can’t stand it.

    Max, it’s frustrating to find out you knew, but hid, the identity a few weeks ago.

  4. Tom, I encourage you to stop by Flashpoint to take a look at By Request. The show examines the idea of ego, media exposure and the willingness of an artist to compromise in order to please others.
    In creating a fictional artist, I wanted to explore the idea of quick fame and notoriety. WeLoveDC, ReadySetDC and WornMagazine were game enough to join me on this journey. Some people called bullshit immediately and others voiced their “wait and see” approach. Was the whole thing a con? That’s up to you to decide. Street artists are characters. They communicate anonymously through their visuals and pseudonyms with the general public to create an image of who they are. Each artist has a different message to share. Perhaps TWEE’s message was different than most, but the approach was the same.
    Many were amused by the hoax, but I welcome you to dislike the idea. Just don’t blame the bloggers. Hopefully they have made you question the hype behind media exposure. In the end, each person’s own decision is all that matters.

  5. I agree with Cory in that it’s up to each person to decide whether this was some sort of a hoax or part of the fabric of Jeffry’s show. Honestly this is the first negative comment I’ve heard related to Cory’s work, but art is only made better with a little bit of controversy. :)

    A lot of street art is done in anonymity, this being no exception. I think the issue that you’re concerned with is that three blogs wrote posts that weren’t 100% factual. I could understand and would agree if we were talking about news, about real world events that affected people’s lives, but this was part of the overall publicity scheme that has helped make Jeffry’s show so successful.

    I’ll also add that I’m no stranger to concealing identities. When I began my clown series, I started a new Flickr account and told only a few of my closest friends that it was my creation. Why? Because I wanted it to be a mystery and for the work to stand on its own, rather than people saying, “Um, why is Max taking pictures of a clown?”

    I encourage everyone to check out By Request at Flashpoint to gain a better understanding of the work.

  6. I agree with the rave reveiws–Cudlin really knocked it out of the ballpark with this show. To the commenter above: I don’t understand why you found this “work of fiction” a bit “sleazy” and “creepy.” Is all art supposed to be sincere and transparent so that the viewing public is not duped? TWEE’s performance project falls within the “trickster” tradition of Yves Klein, Duchamp, Warhol and many others, including a number of street artists.

  7. I agree with Henry. A totally Warholian trickster project. As I said, “Jeffry Cudlin is the Maurizio Cattelan carbuncle on the ass of the artworld.” God bless him….I <3 Jeffry Cudlin.

    The project is so conceptually genius…And it produced some marvelous work from the artists who participated, transparent or not. Many artists hide their identities or create new ones. That's a long tradition in 20th century art, both performative and not.

  8. The show is a lot of fun and I enjoyed the photographic portraits by Victoria Gaitan and Josh Cogan. Plus the 24′ of Cudlin is a printing feat in itself, although his giant nude frontal is hard to look at. This exhibition really captures DC’s art movement pretty well.

    As for TWEE, more please.

  9. I think it’s being called “sleazy” because the credibility of these bloggers is affected. Whenever I read a post from Max now I will wonder if it’s true or if he is promoting another one of his projects. Sure, nobody died or went hungry, but it speaks to how seriously Max takes his position as a writer. The answer would appear to be ‘not very.’

  10. I really hope Max doesn’t get flack for his part in this clever performance art. So good!!

  11. I’m with Tom, except I think this is more cheesy than sleazy. I like good art as much as the next person…but I’m just that — the next person. I go to an exhibition or look at what the art people at DCist.com call the “Photo of the Day” and play the BS game — is it art or BS? — and find that much of it is just stuff that only a person of a certain sensibility will call “genius.” I’m sure most people will look at this project with feelings ranging from complete apathy to minor amusement to annoyance by its pretentiousness.

    Artists, performance or otherwise, have their artsy-fartsy audience that will always praise whatever they do. More power to them.

  12. Oh, and I hope Max was paid for his part in advertising this man’s work. I don’t consider most bloggers to be “journalists,” so I’ll give him a pass. Still, I can see where some people would question the ethics in deceiving people like that as some kind of promotion.

  13. I second DeeSee’s opinion. This show is for the art scene insiders and their pretentious efforts to alienate the general public. You can talk about the work all you want, but if it isn not pretty to look at it is no longer considered art. It is just a pile of BS. I get tired of artists making a fortune off of picking up trash in the street an putting into a gallery. The government uses our money to fund artists who pull stupid pranks like this instead of getting real jobs. You know why Tomas Kinkade if famous? Because he can paint and people actually want to see his beautiful paintings in their homes. People recognize his genius without a line of BS.
    I feel sorry for Max being duped into promoting this sham while Cory and Jeffrey get rich and famous off people like him. If you want to see real art go to the national gallery and look at the rennaisance sculptures and paintings made by people who took pride in their art. Stop littering our streets with the crap you call art.

  14. OK. I wasn’t going to go there, but I have to defend Max and point out how these commenters, really have a seriously over-inflated sense of their own importance. Absolutely no one’s reputation is directly or indirectly harmed by Max planting a teaser in his blog posting. I seem to recall that during photoweek last year one of your bloggers organized a big photo show, then promoted her own show in the Washington Post in a full page article. I would think that is much worse than Max merely posting a one-sentence question about a show that he has no finanical or professional interest in. I don’t begrudge that photoweek curator from promoting her own show. I just think its hypocritical, egotistical, overly dramatic, and self-important to pretend like something is at stake here. Guess what: nothing is at stake here. Zero. Get over yourselves.

  15. To be clear, this curator promoted her own Photoweek show in a Washington Post article about the top shows to see during photoweek.

  16. Thomas Kinkade is famous for hiring people to daub bits of paint on cheap reproductions of his art and calling them limited edition prints. He’s also famous for urinating on a Winnie the Pooh statue and driving drunk. I assume “Bob” is either yanking everyone’s chain…or is, in fact, Thomas Kinkade.